Toro for dinner. (Bondir was full)
Went with a couple of friends - one of whom says that the restaurant is in his rotation. We sit down. We are all holding the tiny flickering flame from the votive candles right next to the menu in an attempt to read the small print in the darkish room. As I'm looking over my choices, I ask ...
"So how many times have you eaten here?"
"How many is lots?"
"Lots is lots. Fifty plus."
I put the food menu down.
"Oh good. Let's divide and conquer. Just order food for the table. I hereby elect myself chief operating officer of wine."
I pick up the wine list. One page, two sides, small print, mostly Spanish - pretty good, very appropriate for the place, all prices points represented. Chambo likes.
The other friend speaks up: "What am I in charge of? This divide and conquer stuff seems to have left me with nothing to do."
"Correct. You can eat and drink our fine work."
"Okay. Sounds good."
Small plates start arriving. And arriving. And arriving. The chief operating officer of food asks "You think you want more?". Chambo: "Sure." More plates arrive. He asks again. Chambo: "Sure." Repeat one more time.
It's a decent fun place. I'd consider returning when I'm in that fun small plates mood. I had a few tasty bites but quite a few so so bites. Foodwise, NYC's Casa Mono is much better, more ambitious / serious, but it's also a smaller place. And Toro is bigger and better than its sibling Coppa in the South End (of Boston). But at the end of the day: Toro is Spain, Coppa is Italy - choose accordingly.
Re wine, we started with the "2006 Domino Do Bibei "Lalama" Mencia (Ribera Sacra)". Their misspelling - it should be "Dominio". Anyway, it's a nice food wine in a round, lush, full style. The wine list also had the 2009 D Ventura Vina Caneiro on it (for $59 - not bad, eh? - compare that to NYC's Aldea at $90) and I naturally inquired about them both. The wine-person (named Jen, sommelier is too formal a word for this place) said that she doesn't like the way this vintage of Vina Caneiro is drinking and said "go with the Lalama". We did and she was right. How about that - a useful, knowledgable sommelier at a place that doesn't even have a sommelier. Chambo likes. For the next bottle, I thought that I'd give her some runway and asked her: "What comes next? Give me two choices." Choice number one is offered up immediately with a nice and intriguing description. She's scratching her head on choice number 2. Tick tock, tick tock. Tick ... Chambo interrupts: "Let's go with that first one that you recommended." We did and she was heading in the correct direction. A bigger wine, but a bit too massive and syrupy for my personal taste. She did carafe it. We would have been better off to order it when we ordered the first wine and have carafed it then. Live and learn. It was the "2005 Bodegas Leda "Leda" Tempranillo (Castilla y Leon)". The winemaker is Mariano Garcia. He was the winemaker at Vega Secilia for decades
After dinner, we had a drink at the Red Lantern. I had a marg. Eh, like I said, it's a 21st century Buddha Bar, as if the world needs that. But oh my, quelles bustieres
they wear! The women working there have their well-endowed mammaries squeezed tight, left to right, and aimed skyward. And the gals working there last night were pretty darn hot, in that slightly sleezy, dirty way. Chambo likes (not really).
After the lantern, we checked out Tico for a nightcap. Yep, another marg. Place was pretty dead but we arrived pretty late. Naturally, a Tico nightcap includes a bunch of tacos. We ordered the beef and the pork, for sure. I think others but that part of the evening is oh-so-slightly hazy. During dinner, the tacos are $10 or so for 2 of them. Late night, they were $5 and at $5 and seriously sloshed, Chambo likes.